From the Vault...


Randy Newman
"Good Old Boys"

© Reprise Records

Year of Release: 1974

track listing
  • Rednecks
  • Birmingham
  • Marie
  • Mr. President
    (Have Pity On
    The Working Man)
  • Guilty
  • Louisiana 1927
  • Every Man A King
  • Kingfish
  • Naked Man
  • A Wedding In Cherokee County
  • Back On My Feet Again
  • Rollin'

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    Randy Newman
    "Good Old Boys"

    Randy Newman has always been a unique musical individual -- His songwriting has been covered (and most famous) by other artists. His songs have been covered by many; to name a few -- Gene Pitney, Dusty Springfield, The O'Jays, and Three Dog Night. He also achieved stardom as a movie music arranger. His distinctive singing voice has been recognized as unique and different as well. He may not have had an outstanding singing voice, but yet, his singing style has become as true as his songwriting lyrical style. A storyteller in his own right, his music as a performer has always brought attention. That is, you just have to admire his songwriting ability, and if no one else would record his songs, he would on his own, with outstanding results.

    One of his most popular hits was "Short People" (from his Little Criminals album). My first introduction of him, was his appearance on Saturday Night Live, and one song in particular, "Pants" (from his Born Again album). It was strange, very strange. Yet his music has been admired, and on this album, Good Old Boys, the title does have its own meaning, these are "good old" tunes. And, this album was based on the American South.

    "Rednecks" focuses on segregationist Lester Maddox, being a "smart-ass New York jew" on a TV show. Southern racism and biotgry of the South. Other related songs from this album were "Kingfish" and "Every Man A King." Also featured were the historical events. The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, on the track "Louisiana 1927, and a plea to Richard Nixon to alleviate poverty as a result of the mid-1970s recession on the track "Mr. President (Have Pity On The Working Man)." "Every Man A King" is based on Louisiana Governor Huey P. Long. Members of the band the Eagles helped out on this track.

    Often heard on tracks of Good Old Boys is compared to old-time Jazz. "Birmingham" is one of them. "Marie" however, has a somewhat sad atmosphere. Old-time Jazz definitely on "Mr. President."

    "Guilty" is a song that was recorded by another, in this case, the Blues Brothers, from their Made In America album. "Louisiana 1927" can be compared to songs by Van Morrison. Not by voice, but musical style. Old-time Jazz returns on "Every Man A King." "Kingfish" has the "unique style of Randy Newman." Also on "Naked Man." "A Wedding In Cherokee County" has the same atmosphere as "Guilty" -- sounding like Randy on the piano, in a small, smoky (jazz) bar. Where his voice and piano just takes over. (Tom Waits also had this particular style; yet Newman's voice isn't as rough as Waits.) The "unique Randy Newman" gets "Back On My Feet Again," and ends with the old-time Jazz Rollin.'"

    New Orleans Jazz has most of the tracks here on Good Old Boys. A fine album by Newman, telling songs of the American South. No major big hits here; the only one that stood out from my mind, was "Guilty," which I remembered by the Blues Brothers. Its a very good album, and we have to remember, Randy Newman's albums are unique and different, and gifted. Just as Tom Waits. Both in musical style, and their distinctive musical voices.

    But for easy relaxation, Good Old Boys would be a good one to listen to. Randy Newman has a gift for songwriting. And this album has a great distinctive sound, away from the common Rock (and other genres) you're normally used to. Good Old Boys is a good ol' album. I'm sure you will all enjoy it, for a relaxing and enjoyable music listening pleasure.

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    Previous Review: #1520
    Todd Rungren--Something/Anything?
    Next Review: #1522
    Ernest Tubb--The Definitive Collection